About Scottish Artist Ailsa Black


I grew up in a tiny village in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland during the 70's. Our family of four children was supplemented with chickens, ducks, doves, cats, rabbits and mice and it's from here that my love of nature and wildlife grew. I was always painting and drawing the things I saw around me and loved to be outdoors. At secondary school, I was sent out of assembly for wearing lipstick and sent to see the headmaster. I was told that the only thing I would be fit for was Art School - which sounded like quite a good idea to me. So I applied and was lucky to go to Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen where I studied Graphics and Illustration for 4 years before receiving a 2.1 BA Hons in Art and Design.

Then I spent 10 years living in Leith in Edinburgh where I held down a number of jobs including running weekly art groups at a city drop in centre and working as an arts worker with people with mental health problems. Some of the work involved visiting people in their own homes in some of the "hidden" areas of the city where I would arrive at high rise blocks on my bicycle only to find the lift wasn't working and I would carry my bike up 15 flights of stairs. Although I loved the city I really missed the countryside and at weekends I would get back on my bike and cycle along the coast and wild camp in the countryside.

In 2001 my partner and I moved to the tiny village of Carsethorn which sits perched on the Solway Coast in Dumfries and Galloway.  It has a pub, a telephone box and a bus stop. From the small studio at the top of the house I can see porpoises, otters and seals not to mention being surrounded by foxes, badgers, deer and an amazing variety of birdlife. It's from this base that I still work and get my inspiration from.

After starting to paint and show work with one or two galleries, I was approached by a few outlets wanting cards and prints and so I started to produce those and from there things have steadily grown. I have exhibited at both the Paisley Art Institute and the Royal Glasgow Institute. In 2012 I was sponsored by my local council to attend a trade craft fair and from then on I started selling work to trade, as well as undertaking commissions, selling with galleries and running my web shop.  In 2014 I was shortlisted for the License This! competition at Brand Licensing Europe in London where I pitched my work to a panel of judges.  Although I didn't win the prize I did make some great contacts and now have a wonderful agent who is working with me to develop my work. You will find my images licensed on cards and mugs which are sold worldwide.

When I have free time you will always find me outdoors where I love to watch wildlife and tramp the local beaches and coasts. Sometimes I venture north to the Highlands or over the border to the Lake District where I climb hills with my collie dog. I still go on long bike rides to quiet places.

I am passionate about creating new images from my love of the environment and the animals and people that surround me.  I try to throw in a pinch of humour too. With these values I hope to capture the happiness and simplicity of the good things in life.  I hope you enjoy them!